How Healthy Are You? 10 Easy Self-Checks
Can You Think Fast?7. Verbal fluency
How easily you can come up with words while writing or talking is a metric of how well you can recall and use information stored in your long-term memory, says Michael Scanlon, a neuroscientist and the chief scientific officer at Lumosity.com, a site that offers games to train your brain. To test your fluency, pick one of these three-letter word stems: fin-, win-, cap-, gro-. In 60 seconds, write down as many words as you can that begin with those letters. For example, if you choose fin-, options include financial, finish, final, finicky, and finch.
< 3 = Poor
3 to 9 = Fair
> 10 = Good
Practice as much as you want on paper or at lumosity.com/games/word-bubbles to help improve your performance.8. Mental acuity
This is a blanket term for attention, focus, planning, memory, and abstract thinking. When mental acuity declines significantly, it may be a sign of Alzheimer's disease or dementia. To put yours to the test, grab a pen and a timer and time yourself as you connect the dots in the game to the right in this way: number, letter, number, letter, tracing from 1 to A to 2 to B to 3 to C and so on.
> 120 seconds = Poor
75 to 120 seconds = Fair
< 75 seconds = Good
Playing brain or word games -- online, on your phone, or on paper -- may help increase your brain speed and flexibility. Scanlon recommends 15 to 20 minutes a day five to six days a week.
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